Trade Management 101

For each trade you have to manage five things:

  1. Entry: Your trade entry has to be based on a quantified signal that will put the odds in your favor of the price moving in the direction to make you profitable.
  2. Stop loss: You have to decide on the level that price should not go if the trade is going to work out in your favor. Your stop loss is the price level will you will accept that your trade is probably not going to work out and you are going to exit with a loss.
  3. Position size: Based on the volatility of what you are trading and the placement of your stop loss you have to decide how much capital you will put into your trade. You have to consider the total percentage of your trading capital you will put into your trade and how much you will lose if your stop loss is hit.
  4. Trailing stop: In winning trades you have to choose a trailing stop with price or a moving average that you will lock in profits if your winning trade reverses to that level. This is the way to maximize a winning trade by not exiting until you have a reason to.
  5. Profit target: This is a predetermined level where you will lock in profits if your trade gets a specific price or technical level. This a way to minimize giving back paper profits when you are satisfied with a large enough profit.

Our success is based on how we manage our trades. How we control our emotions, maximize wins, and admit quickly when we are proven wrong about a trade.